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Hoshana Rabbah in Canada

Many Jewish people in Canada mark Hoshana Rabbah (or Hoshana Raba) as the last day of Sukkot (Succot, Succoth, Sukkoth) in their calendars. This day is the end of the Sukkot period, also known as the Feast of Tabernacles. The Sukkot festival is observed during the week starting on 15th day of Tishri (or Tishrei), which is the first month of the year in the Jewish calendar.

Is Hoshana Rabbah a Public Holiday?

Hoshana Rabbah is not a public holiday. It falls on Sunday, October 20, 2019 and most businesses follow regular Sunday opening hours in Canada.

Jewish citrons display, Sukkot - Tabernacles
A lemon-like fruit from a citron tree is used during Sukkot.
A lemon-like fruit from a citron tree is used during Sukkot.
©iStockphoto.com/Odelia Cohen

What Do People Do?

Hoshana Rabbah is the last day for many Jewish Canadians to dwell in the sukkah but some traditional followers continue to stay in this temporary structure through to Shmini Atzeret, which starts after Hoshana Rabbah. Many Jewish people in Canada consider Hoshana Rabbah as the final day of the divine judgment when people’s fate for the New Year is determined. The Hoshanot prayers are recited and a special ritual involving the “four species” (plants) is performed.

Public Life

The last day of Sukkot is not a nationwide public holiday in Canada. However, many Jewish businesses, schools and organizations may be closed or offer a reduced level of service.

Background

The Sukkot period is a time to remember the Jewish people’s wandering in the desert for 40 years following their exodus from Egypt, according to Jewish teachings. It is also a time to celebrate the grape harvest. Some sources claim that Sukkot lasts for about seven days while others state that it is an eight-day festival.

The seventh day of Sukkot is known as Hoshana Rabbah while the eighth day is known as Shmini Atzeret and the day after is called Simchat Torah. Hoshana Rabbah is known as the day of the final sealing of judgment, which began on Rosh Hashanah.

Symbols

An important Sukkot symbol is the sukkah. This is a temporary structure with a roof made of sechach or s'chach, which is raw, unfinished plant material, such as palm branches, bamboo poles, reeds or even corn stalks.

The “four species” are also important symbols of Sukkot and represent the blessings of nature. These are lulav (a green, closed frond of a date palm tree), hadass (twigs and leaves from a myrtle tree), aravah (twigs and leaves from a willow tree) and etrog (a lemon-like fruit of the citron tree).

About Hoshana Rabbah in other countries

Read more about Hoshana Rabbah.

Hoshana Rabbah Observances

Note: Jewish holidays begin at sundown the day before the date specified for the holiday.

YearWeekdayDateNameHoliday TypeArea
2010WedSep 29Hoshana RabbahJewish holiday 
2011WedOct 19Hoshana RabbahJewish holiday 
2012SunOct 7Hoshana RabbahJewish holiday 
2013WedSep 25Hoshana RabbahJewish holiday 
2014WedOct 15Hoshana RabbahJewish holiday 
2015SunOct 4Hoshana RabbahJewish holiday 
2016SunOct 23Hoshana RabbahJewish holiday 
2017WedOct 11Hoshana RabbahJewish holiday 
2018SunSep 30Hoshana RabbahJewish holiday 
2019SunOct 20Hoshana RabbahJewish holiday 
2020FriOct 9Hoshana RabbahJewish holiday 

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